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Cybersecurity researchers discover holes in Modern Warfare 3, CryEngine 3

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Two researchers have found security flaws in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Crytek's CryEngine 3, they said in a presentation at the Power of Community security conference in Seoul today.

The researchers, Donato Ferrante and Luigi Auriemma of Maltese cybersecurity firm ReVuln, demonstrated a vulnerability in Activision's 2011 shooter Modern Warfare 3 that allowed Auriemma to remotely crash a game server. They also demonstrated an attack on the CryEngine 3 shooter Nexuiz, which was developed by Illfonic and published by THQ earlier this year, in which Auriemma was able to create a remote shell on a player's computer and put up an image — in this case, of a cat riding a rocket — on the user's PC.

CryEngine 3 is the game engine for all of Crytek's products, including the Crysis games and the upcoming free-to-play shooter Warface, and titles from other studios such as City Interactive's 2013 shooter Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2.

According to Auriemma and Ferrante, games with security flaws such as these are vulnerable not just to hacks from consumers, but also from rival developers and publishers. "We have a lot of companies that ask for these kinds of denial-of-service attacks to attack competitors," said Ferrante, pointing out that "this is really a big concern for companies."

The two will release some information on both flaws on Tuesday, the release date for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. They said they're willing to work with Activision to fix the Modern Warfare 3 problem, but as cybersecurity professionals, they won't necessarily provide their assistance pro bono.

Last month, Ferrante and Auriemma pointed out a security flaw in Steam URLs that could be employed for malicious uses.